Tag Archives: new jersey wine
It’s not summer, so what am I doing in Cape May, NJ in the middle of winter…looking for a summer house. Yes, it’s going to be my new wine destination soon. We actually pulled into this winery last Memorial Day weekend to find it closed. When we were down there a few weeks ago on a house scouting trip we checked it out and it was open. They opened December 15, 2011 with a soft opening and will have a Grand Opening in May.(You have to have some fun, while house hunting.)
When you first pull up to Willow Creek Winery, you see the picture above. It’s a beautiful house, but it isn’t the winery. You have to drive around to the left and follow the signs. At some point you think you are really in the wrong place but then it opens up to more vines and a beautiful large winery.
They spared no expense! They have a 50 acre farm in Cape May, NJ. Their first vines were planted in 2004 and in the past eight years they have planted over 5000 vines and 10 varietals. The varietals planted are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Corot Noir, Malvasia Bianca, Sangiovese, Alberino, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin and they are planting Malbec this year.
The winery holds two labels Willow Creek and Wilde Cock. The Willow Creek label is for estate wines and Wilde Cock uses grapes from their farm as well as grapes that are sourced from other places. Not necessarily New Jersey which I found strange. Some of their blends for their Wilde Cock label are sourced from Washington State.
Paul and I did a full tasting which was $10 per person. We began with Malvasia Bianca 2011 and 2010. The 2011 was aged in 3 year old French oak for 3 months and finished in stainless steel. It showed flavors of pear, honeysuckle and honey. The 2010 was aged in 100% stainless steel and it expressed the grapes acidic, mineral and citrus attributes.
The 2011 Sauvignon Blanc was aged in French oak for 7 months. Personally I don’t like my Sauvignon Blanc oaked as I feel it takes away the grapes personality and expression.
There were two Pinot Noirs, 2010 and 2011. The 2011 spent one year in French Oak. Flavors of raspberry, tobacco and smoke. I didn’t like the nose on this wine. The 2010 was much nicer on my palate. This spent 1 1/2 years in French oak, with flavors of raspberry and a hint of black pepper.
We can’t forget the 2010 Merlot. This had a nice nose with dark berry aromas. The palate bursted with black cherry and plum flavors.
The Bacchus Red is a medium bodied wine and a blend of Merlot, Chambourcin and Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted a lot of cherry in this blend.
There was a Rose in the mix. The Meditrina Rose which was estate blended with 49% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Chambourcin and 1% Merlot. It had 1.5% residual sugar. It reminded me of a candied cherry jolly rancher.
On to the Wilde Cock label which the name comes from the owner who is Barbara Wilde, but not sure where the Cock comes into play. Onto the Wilde Cock…
We began the flight of Wilde Cock with the Wilde Cock Red. This was a blend of Merlot from the estate and Shiraz from Washington State. It was thin with notes of black cherry and a tad of black pepper from the Shiraz on the finish.
We then moved onto the Wilde Cock Sweet White. It’s a blend of Riesling and Moscato. The Moscato is sourced from Washington State. A bit to sweet for me, but it did have a little fiz going on. Not sure if it was suppose to be that way or going through a second fermentation in the bottle.
Last selection tasted was their Wilde Cock Southern Sangria. Made with pomegranate and cherry nectar it was actually very nice and had a great nose.
The winery offers an “Adopt a Vine” program where you can adopt a vine for 12 months. Each month you will receive a private news letter discussing the stage of growth your vine is in and will have the opportunity to come out each month and care for it.
Looking forward to many more tasting when I am down in that area.
Cape May, New Jersey holds a dear place in my heart. We’ve had a summer house there for decades and I have seen such growth in the region. There use to be only a handful of wineries and now one can spend a day wine tasting in the area. Every year when I go down there seems to be a new vineyard/winery to visit.
Cape May was very luck during hurricane Sandy (so was our house) and compared to the other shore points not to far away, escaped major catastrophic damage. They have some wonderful food and wine events planed for the holiday season. Get out and enjoy!
If you want to escape for the weekend and take your holiday shopping and activities to the beach, here are the events The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) has planned.
“Flavors of Fall” Wine Dinner, Friday, November 16, 7:30pm at the Mad Batter. Price is $75 per person and includes tax and gratuity. Click here for the menu
Saturday November 24 & Saturday, December 29 spend the day on the Cape May Wine Trail. Your day begins at 12PM as you board the MAC Trolley (always wanted a ride in that) at the Physick Estate and taken to Lucky Bones Backwater Grille for lunch (after all, got to eat before you hit the wineries). After lunch your trolley will take you to Natali Vineyards & Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery where you’ll get a tour and tasting. $60 per person includes lunch and wine tastings.
The Cape May Wine Weekend, Friday, December 7 -December 9. This is a wine dinner, winery tasting and a wine school class all in a weekend. Your weekend begins with a four-course wine tasting dinner Friday night at the Washington Inn followed a Saturday afternoon winery tour at Cape May Winery. Your weekend will conclude Sunday with a Wine School Class “Sparkling Wines for the Holidays”. Admission is $135 for the entire package. There is even some time in there for some holiday shopping.
“Happy Holidays” Wine Dinner at the Mad Batter Friday, December 14. Price is $75 per person and includes tax and gratuity.
Winery Cellar Tour & Tasting at Cape May Winery Join Cape May Winery for a Saturday afternoon tour and tasting. You’ll get to chat with the winemaker and have some barrel tastings accompanied by cheese and fruit. Admission is $20 (tickets must be purchased in advance at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth) Dates offered are Nov. 17; Nov 23 – Nov 25; daily December 1 – 31 (no tours Dec 23-25)
If you plan to travel to the area, more information can be found at Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC)